How to Grow Your Own Microgreens
Microgreens are packed full of concentrated goodness - here's how to grow your own
Microgreens are the modern version of sprouts. My mother was a big fan of sprouts in the 70s but she realised she’d taken the craze too far when my brother sat with his bowl of muesli singing “Sprouts out!“ as he picked the offending greens from his breakfast. The difference between sprouts and microgreens is the stage of growth.
Sprouts are seeds that are sprouted and the whole seed is eaten before the true leaves form, while microgreens are sown in soil, grown until the true leaves develop and then just the greens harvested. This early growth is packed full of concentrated goodness. All plants have two leaves when they first sprout that look very similar from one plant to the next. The true leaves come after these and are more distinct, that is they look like the parent plant.
1. Choose the seeds of your choice such as broccoli, peas, radish, mesclun, lettuce, basil or coriander. Avoid tomatoes and capsicum which can be toxic, and choose plants with an edible leaf.
2. Fill a shallow, free-draining tray with a seed-raising mix (I use Daltons). This can sit outside or on a warm window sill.
3. Sprinkle the seeds on to the surface of the soil. You can sow them closer than the package recommends, as the plants won’t reach maturity. Aim for a spread of a seed every centimetre or two.
4. Sprinkle a thin covering of soil over the top to cover the seeds.
5. Water with a gentle spray each morning and evening too if dry to the touch.
6. Your plants are ready to harvest at around 2-3cm high when they form their first set of true leaves. These are the leaves that form after the first two that sprout from the seed and look more like the true plant.
7. Harvest with scissors just before serving to ensure sugars and freshness are at their peak.
— Leading New Zealand landscape designer Xanthe White